Mucky Duck Restaurant and Catering had me at tomato bisque and not just because it’s the first item on the dinner menu.
Instead of settling for a small cup ($5) of this palate-pleasing appetizer, I should have ordered a bowl ($6). Creamy with flecks of pureed tomato and basil, this soup has a flavor I couldn’t quite distinguish. When I asked one of the servers, she laughed and noted it’s what everyone wants to know. Although I was disappointed that I didn’t discover the confidential element, there was some comfort knowing I wasn’t the only one asking the question.
This Green Mountain Falls restaurant is a blend of rustic, homey décor that doesn’t entirely mesh with the upscale items on its menu. The staff is so friendly they feel like longtime friends, which made it easier to forgive some of the gaffes, such as not mentioning the dinner specials and not offering fresh ground pepper for the salads. Still, there were plenty of nice touches such as the basket of warm bread and well-paced timing between courses.
The menu offers an array of steaks including filet mignon, rack of lamb and duck, seafood such as salmon, trout and flounder, and several pasta options. Entrees include salad, mashed potatoes or risotto, and fresh vegetables.
Although we didn’t order it, the wedge salads ($9), listed as an appetizer, served to nearby tables looked like meals unto themselves. Despite being called a wedge, what appeared to be a head of iceberg lettuce is covered with blue cheese dressing, bacon bits, blue cheese crumbles and cherry tomatoes. I did see a few to-go boxes for what remained on some of the plates.
Prices are exceptionally reasonable, although this doesn’t always translate to something positive. For example, the 10-ounce New York Strip at $24 sounds like a deal. The problem was that it was not well trimmed, so we cut away a lot of fat. On the plus side, it was well cooked to a proper medium rare. The skins-on mashed potatoes were a fine addition, but the fresh broccoli arrived cold.
It’s difficult to resist anything with bacon so the sea scallops with a bacon and Gorgonzola cream sauce grabbed my attention. Three nice-sized scallops topped with sautéed onions plus bacon in the velvety sauce had a lot of plate appeal next to the bright green broccoli and serving of risotto. Although my vegetables were also cold, the biggest disappointment was the scallops. They were leathery and had none of the delicate, buttery elements typically associated with them.
To the restaurant’s credit, I was offered another order and every effort was made to ensure the meal was not a complete bust. It wasn’t, thanks to that tomato bisque.
Lunch also is served daily featuring salads, hot and cold sandwiches, pastas and soups. The restaurant is open for Sunday brunch. House-made desserts include bread pudding, triple chocolate cake and cheesecake.
Mucky Duck features live music Thursday and Saturday evenings. A rooftop patio provides an outdoor dining option when weather cooperates. A full bar, the wine list along with the continental menu give the restaurant a special-occasion ambiance despite the interior design. Nonetheless, an after-dinner walk around the lake is what truly enhances the dining experience.
I certainly would return for the creamy bisque and perhaps the mega-wedge salad.
Restaurant: Mucky Duck Restaurant and Catering
Address: 10530 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls
Contact: 684-1008; muckyduckco.com
Restaurant character: Unpretentious with Continental menu
Rating total: 3.66 of 5 forks
Food: 3 of 5 forks
Ambiance: 4 of 5 forks
Service: 4 of 5 forks
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Entrees: $16 to $27
Credit cards: Yes
Vegan options: Yes
Outdoor dining: Yes
Gluten-free options: Yes
What’s online as of Sept. 4:
• No votes on Foursquare
• 4.5 of 5 stars based on 125 reviews on TripAdvisor
• 3.5 of 5 rating based on 17 votes on Zomato
• 4 of 5 stars based on 46 reviews on Yelp
Excellent rating on March 27 by El Paso County Public Health.